I wrote a few days ago about the upcoming Porsche Youtube coverage of Röhrl/Geistdörfer at Targa Tasmania. Some questions over the classic 911 rally car they’re using: is it an SC RS? Engine shots do look similar, but the chassis is quite different to the SC RS that was being restored on my last Stuttgart visit. I’ll find out when it comes home again (edit: see the SC rally video Porsche have just posted).
Here is an SC RS though, in the closest finish I can remember in Irish rallying. The Donegal International Rally is a tough three-day event that takes no prisoners. Running through the rugged terrain on Ireland’s north west Atlantic coast, it is all mixed weather and dry stone walls. There are no second chances here. One slip and you are in deep trouble – as the video shows.
1985 was a landmark year. Legend Austin McHale in his Manta 400 was chasing a win after two years of playing bridesmaid. The rest of the field was Manta 400s and hot rod Escorts: the last gasp of old-school RWD rallying before the AWD philosophy really took hold.
Tony Pond was present in the first real outing for the Group B Metro 6R4. By SS6, the car had a 1 minute 45 second advantage over P2: over two seconds a mile faster, and Pondie was not flat out. If you’ve ever seen a 6R4 apart, you know that is utterly terrifying as they are made of fresh air. Thankfully the car retired before anyone could impact the scenery.
When the event gets going, Billy Coleman (the King of Irish Rallying), is on mesmerising form in the Rothmans 911 SC RS. 911s always went well at Donegal: Cathal Curley won here three times in a row in a 911 in the early 1970s. Coleman too has tasted success on the event: winning in a Lancia Stratos in 1977, and then in a Manta 400 in 1984. He’s the natural choice for David Richards to take on Donegal in 1985.
At the end of day two and a fairly major hold up, the man from Milltown has climbed back from being over a minute and a half behind McHale, to what he thinks is 9 seconds behind. Turns out he is 39 seconds behind, with 40 miles to make it up the following day. In fact, it is less: the final stage is cancelled due to spectator problems.
Can Coleman do it? You’ll have to watch and see. Coleman came back in a 6R4 the following year and won the event.